A Qantas flight from Melbourne to Perth had a delayed take-off over the weekend because of 50 passengers refusing to fly due to a Wi-Fi hotspot named “mobile detonation device.”
The Wi-Fi hotspot first caught the attention of one of the passengers who saw it in the in-flight entertainment hub before the take-off. After the passenger alerted the crew who then notified the pilot and the security officials, the pilot asked the owner to come forward. According to passengers onboard the flight, no one owned up to it. The passengers were then evacuated to allow security officials to check for a potential threat.
It turned out that it was a prank and the signal was suspected to potentially come from a device inside the terminal. The flight was then cleared for take-off.
“The pilot said a particular passenger had gone to log on and a hotspot name has come up with one which was a scare to Qantas and passengers,” a passenger told Channel Seven as quoted by The Telegraph. “The pilot made us aware and said they were going to take proper security precautions … After half an hour no one came forward, the Wi-Fi covered a fair distance so [it] could have been someone in the terminal.”
According to another passenger, the pilot said that the flight refused to take-off until the owner of the device came forward, the West Australian reported. Unfortunately, around 50 passengers refused to take their chances and Qantas offered an alternate flight for the concerned clients.
“Some passengers elected not to travel so there was a delay as bags were taken off and those passengers disembarked,” said a Qantas spokesperson. The unloading and reloading of the luggage caused further delays.
According to Qantas, there were no other disruptions to the flight but it was delayed by two hours as a result of the prank.